Getting Started With Sphero in the Classroom
The Sphero is a little robot ball that helps teach children coding in a fun way. It can connect to phones or tablets via Bluetooth. When introducing this into a classroom for the first time, why not try the Sphero Education Pack – which provides you with a set of 12 Sphero Robots, 12 charging points, Maze Tapes, Protractors, and Sticker Sheets, as well as a Quick Start Guide that accompanies each robot. These robots are designed for the classroom and the creators understand that sometimes children will not be the gentlest of learners. To combat this the Sphero Robots are Scratch-Resistant, Waterproof, and Shockproof.
To connect the Sphero robot up to your tablet, enable the Bluetooth in settings and wait for “Sphero-____” to appear. Each robot will be named according to the colours that it initially flashes. Tap to connect and get started! The Sphero app named SpheroEdu is available for Apple and Android devices and is free to download. There are coding cards and a quick start guide that come with the little robots to help children input basic coding skills to control the robot’s movements. However, if you are starting to introduce this with children who are too young to read the cards, the app contains a ‘Draw’ section which allows young children to create a path for the robot to follow using their drawing skills.
For the more advanced learner, you can create ‘code blocks’ by programming the robot with arrows indicating direction, and numbers which indicate time in seconds. For a more advanced activity, a teacher can write the code themselves but with some mistakes and ask pupils to identify the mistakes in order to ‘debug’ the code. This will help gauge their understanding of coding concepts and will develop problem-solving skills in learners. But problem-solving skills are not the only skills that will be developed by these coding robots. Sphero allows students to work independently and certain activities will also mean that they have to work on their teamwork skills when collaborating with their peers.
By creating challenges for students to attempt it will help them use their initiative to reach their learning goals. The Sphero also helps build resilience as if they don’t manage to complete a challenge the first time, they can approach a challenge differently, looking at their learning with a positive attitude.
There are a variety of numeracy challenges that can also be set which will develop pupil knowledge in areas such as 2D Geometry, Perimeter, Area, and Measurement. Move the learning even further and absorb it into an interdisciplinary project by then getting them to study the science behind the coding or develop their literacy skills by getting them to write a piece of creative writing about their Sphero’s journey or an informative report about the challenges they have been undertaking and their findings. Communication and presentation skills can also be linked in if the pupils present their findings to other classes or teachers.
The possibilities for the Sphero Robots are endless and they really are an investment for the classroom. They prove that learning doesn’t have to be boring. Share your ideas below on how you would use Sphero’s in your classroom to boost learning and ignite creativity.